University of Brighton Alumni Association

Architecture alumni make the grade!

University of Brighton architecture graduates have scooped a technical design award for renovation and extension of a Grade 2 listed building.

The team, from Cityzen, the architecture and engineering practice in Portslade, beat competition from across the region to win the Best Extension or Alteration category in this year’s Local Authority Building Control South East Awards. All winners progress to the Grand Finals to be held in London later this year.

Cityzen director John Smith said planning for the conversion at Ditchling took two years and there were 54 planning conditions to observe.

John started out as a building services engineer and re-trained in architectural technology at the University of Brighton back in 2003 so he could “deliver coordinated design solutions”.

He said: “This combination of creativity and technical know-how was just what this project needed. It took nearly 200 drawings and sketches to detail what was required to rebuild and restore the property.”

The Cityzen team, including four University of Brighton alumni from the Architectural Technology course, joined Nutshell Construction on the project, overseen by Lewes District Council building control.

John said: “This project threw curve balls at every turn, but the clients and entire project team were determined to reach the end goal. The new extension has given the property back its balance and symmetry yet we’ve kept its historic soul.”

For more information about Cityzen, go to:


Nic Ashton • July 4, 2018

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